Magnum P.I. fans looking to relive memorable moments from the popular 1980s TV show may want to consider a new island air tour onboard a painstakingly faithful re-creation of “The Chopper,” departing from Turtle Bay Resort on the North Shore of Oahu.
Arguably as recognizable to the program’s fans as Magnum’s Aloha shirts or the red Ferrari, the Chopper was an MD500D helicopter that certainly added some high-octane drama to the series while often showcasing Oahu’s photogenic beauty from high above.
Although the new tour product isn’t offering flights onboard the actual helicopter from the series, Phoenix Heliparts of Mesa, Ariz., has worked hard to re-create an aircraft that closely resembles the original, including using the same airframe, a precision re-creation paint job and the identical tail number used on the helicopter in the show.
“We wanted to re-create the original aircraft down to the most exacting detail possible,” said Tina Cannon, president of Phoenix Heliparts.
The helicopter’s nose cone has also been signed by Roger E. Mosley, who played T.C. on the series, and Larry Manetti, better known to Magnum fans as Rick.
For Calvin Dorn, a former U.S. Marine and the CEO of Paradise Helicopters, the chance to offer Oahu visitors air tours with a Magnum twist was too good to pass up.
“When we heard that Tina and her team were working on the Chopper recondition project, we knew we wanted to be part of it,” he said. “The Chopper was the star of that show for so many of us in the aviation industry, and it made us all want to fly helicopters in Hawaii just like T.C.”
Offering tours from Turtle Bay for 10 years now, Paradise Helicopters has partnered with the resort and Phoenix Heliparts to provide both the hotel’s guests and visitors staying elsewhere a range of different options, including tours as short as 10 minutes for around $50 up to a full-hour product that runs $250 per person.
Tour highlights include everything from the North Shore’s famous surf breaks to Oahu landmarks like Sacred Falls, the Koolau Mountains, Diamond Head, Waikiki and even Pearl Harbor.